The subject of Professor Dorpfeld's third lecture last night in the lecture room of the Fogg Art Museum was the Acropolis of Athens. A beautiful picture of the Acropolis was thrown on the screen before the lecture began, which transported the audience in imagination to Athens, and brought before their eyes the celebrated citadel of Pallas Athena. Professor Dorpfeld, in his opening words, designated this famous spot as the place where still we get the truest conception of the surpassing beauty of Greek art. Other pictures of the Acropolis were shown, with explanatory comment on its monuments and history.
The lecturer then undertook a periegesis of the citadel, with the aid of a plan and many pictures, and described in detail its defences, gateways, and temples,- the Parthenon, built by Pericles; the old temple of Athena, which Dr. Dorpfeld himself discovered and named; and finally the Erechtheum, that most beautiful of the buildings of ancient Athens. The well-known Porch of the Maidens, or Caryatids, he believes to have been the approach to the grave of Cecrops.
The Acropolis has had an eventful history. It was first a citadel, the royal residence of the early kings of Athens and of the same age with Tiryns, Mycenx and Troy. Remains of Cyclopean walls are yet to be seen. The palace of the kings was destroyed, and a temple of Athena was built at the centre of the plateau; but the Acropolis was still a citadel, and was probably, in the sixth century B. C., the seat of residence of the Tyrants. It was captured and destroyed by the Persians; but was rebuilt by Pericles in the fifth century in far greater splendor, stately structures of marble replacing the old temple and gateway. In this condition it remained till late Roman times, the centre of the national history. In Byzantine times, the temples were converted into Christian churches; in the 15th century, when the Turks had captured Athens, the crescent replaced the cross. The Parthenon became a mosque, and when the Venetians beseiged the citadel in 1687 it was destroyed by a bomb,- only a part of the splendid temple remains. The Venetians withdrew, and a mosque was again built among these ruins. Early in the present century, when the war of freedom had driven the Turks out of Greece, the Acropolis came again into the hands of its natural possessors. The Greeks treasure and protect it today as a national heritage; but it is more than that, said the eloquent lecturer in closing,- it is the place about which classical studies centre, in whatever land or nation they may be pursued.
Professor Dorpfeld lectures tonight on Tiryns and Mycenx.